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Mooching mom getting worse each year...
Old 02-16-2012, 12:00 AM   #1
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Mooching mom getting worse each year...

Hi Folks,

As I've mentioned before, I come from a family of spenders with no sense of fiscal discipline...especially my mother.

After decades of spending money like it grows on trees (including a $73k inheritance in'93), never saving a dime for retirement (even when she could), ignoring my pleas to "save for your inevitable old age," and begging me for money ($25-700) every few months, she claims to have hit rock bottom due to years of under-employment and no budgeting.

Sorry, my point is how do I deal with helping someone who will never learn but keeps begging me bail her out? I'm so frustrated! I've worked sooo hard to save my nest egg and I never mooched off of my parents and now my mom expects me to bail her out throughout her old age. I'm single, an only child, no kids and supporting myself in an expensive area. I'm not cold, I swear... I'm just at my wits end...helped her so often only to have her revert back to her old ways.

Anyone else in this position?
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Old 02-16-2012, 12:25 AM   #2
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Thankfully I am not in your position. I am reminded of a saying I learned from a lifeguard in the Scouts: You can't save someone from going under if they drown you in the rescue attempt.
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Old 02-16-2012, 03:17 AM   #3
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Learn to say a polite but firm "NO".
Like in "Unfortunately, I cannot help you with money this time. I have no funds available".
It may also help to ask her from time to time when she plans to pay back what you have loaned her last time.
You are not obliged to sacrifice your own future for a parent who never learned to live within her means.
You could also direct her to outside help like debtors self help groups that are available in her area.
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:14 AM   #4
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"Sorry mom, but I've got my own bills to keep up with! Times are tough and I'm not in a position to part with money right now. I know it might seem like I've got money to burn but I really am living on a budget. If I get too far off track, I'm going to be calling you for money and I just don't think that's fair to you. Maybe I can help out by taking a look at your budget with you or getting you connected with someone else who can."
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:22 AM   #5
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2035, there is no easy answer, and it is a heartbreaking situation. You can (and should) learn to say no. You can check regularly to make sure there is food and electricity. You can also look into what resources are available for your mother in the town and county she resides. There are many programs that provide meals, medical care and transportation to seniors in need, and when she asks you for assistance you can redirect to them.
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:35 AM   #6
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Sorry, it is all invested.

Mooching is a sickness and unfortunately, you have become an enabler.
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:16 AM   #7
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Coming from someone who has been there, done that, food and utility bills would be the only thing I would help with if you truly fill the need to do something for her. In our case we found out she liked her casino trips more than anything else. And I mean anything else!
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:22 AM   #8
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I have an ex-half SIL like that. She spent every nickel she ever had, mooched off everyone who would give her a dollar, and is now in her 80's living on her $1k/month SS income in a subsidized apartment.

Some people just cannot be saved and I suppose they exist to serve as an example to others.
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panacea View Post
"Sorry mom, but I've got my own bills to keep up with! Times are tough and I'm not in a position to part with money right now. I know it might seem like I've got money to burn but I really am living on a budget. If I get too far off track, I'm going to be calling you for money and I just don't think that's fair to you. Maybe I can help out by taking a look at your budget with you or getting you connected with someone else who can."
This is a really good start. And maybe budgeting to send her a couple of grocery store gift cards every month.
You have my sympathy, though, because she'll surely try to make you feel guilty, especially as an only child. Be firm.
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:04 AM   #10
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Tell her you're broke, and that a loan shark leg-breaker is looking for you and that you gave her name as a guarantor.......she won't make contact for a while.
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:49 AM   #11
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We're in a far, far milder version of what you face, though DW's Mom has five children so the burden is easier to deal with.

Like others have said, it's a tough situation. And unless you learn to say no, you're unfortunately enabling her to some extent. Instead of cutting her off cold, maybe tell her what you plan to do to wean her off your financial support over time - but then you have to follow through somehow. You do have to look out for yourself.

That said, I knew co-workers throughout my career faced with enabling family members re: money, alcohol, drugs, gangs. etc. I had long painful discussions with many of them. Few of them could stop their enabling, and in talking to them it has to be incredibly difficult to enact "tough love." In one case, the guy spent his entire life savings enabling his wayward kids. It didn't work after all that money, and he's 59 now and will probably have to work until he's who knows how old. Retirement won't be an option for him anytime soon.

Your intentions are wonderful, best of luck...
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:04 AM   #12
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How about putting her on a monthly allowance with a grocery gift card thrown in on special occasions? When she asks for money, you can tell her next month's allowance will be deposited to her account on XX date. Make it an amount you are comfortable with continuing forever with maybe a small annual bump. What a good son you are that sends his mom money every month!

You might even consider some counseling to learn how to defend yourself emotionally against her manipulations. Ultimately, you have to say "no" but maybe the pros can give you some help in how to deliver the "no" and make it stick without feeling so guilty.
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:11 AM   #13
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Sorry, it is all invested.

Mooching is a sickness and unfortunately, you have become an enabler.
+1

As long as you enable, you will get the same results...

Sometimes it is hard, but you have to be willing to let your loved ones hit rock bottom... and I am not talking about what they whine as being rock bottom, but the real rock bottom... where they want to actually change instead of doing the same thing all over again...
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckeye
How about putting her on a monthly allowance with a grocery gift card thrown in on special occasions? When she asks for money, you can tell her next month's allowance will be deposited to her account on XX date. Make it an amount you are comfortable with continuing forever with maybe a small annual bump. What a good son you are that sends his mom money every month!

You might even consider some counseling to learn how to defend yourself emotionally against her manipulations. Ultimately, you have to say "no" but maybe the pros can give you some help in how to deliver the "no" and make it stick without feeling so guilty.
I'm a woman! (((blushing))) :-)

I'm definitely going to consider all the great advice given here and the seeking professional guidance on this matter. Everyone here has been so helpful!
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Old 02-16-2012, 11:08 AM   #15
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I'm in a similar situation with my brother. Got that call the other day, needed money to get his power turned back on.
I gave it without question or comment, other than maybe he needs to rethink his stratagey. I know he'll never pay it back.
Being my brother he knows the next time he asks it will be a resounding NO and he'll end up asking for it from someone else.
He could have ER'd had he not gotten stupid with his money, now he has none.

It hurts to see him struggle, but there's not much I can do for him. We won't have enough to support us and him.
The old saying: "A oversight on your part does not mean an emergency on my part"
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Old 02-16-2012, 11:19 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
I have an ex-half SIL like that. She spent every nickel she ever had, mooched off everyone who would give her a dollar, and is now in her 80's living on her $1k/month SS income in a subsidized apartment.

Some people just cannot be saved and I suppose they exist to serve as an example to others.
She's lucky she's at least getting the SS that she does. There are quite a few folk out there who qualify for much less SS who have equally poor money managing habits. I wonder what happens to some of these people.

Some great advice here, and I think that the advice to learn how to deal with any guilt etc as a result of saying no is as important as learning how to actually say no (or to severely limit the aid given).

I feel for you 2035. It can't be easy being the parent in this situation.
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Old 02-16-2012, 11:26 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2035 View Post
After decades of spending money like it grows on trees (including a $73k inheritance in'93), never saving a dime for retirement (even when she could), ignoring my pleas to "save for your inevitable old age," and begging me for money ($25-700) every few months, she claims to have hit rock bottom due to years of under-employment and no budgeting....

I'm single, an only child, no kids and supporting myself in an expensive area. I'm not cold, I swear... I'm just at my wits end...helped her so often only to have her revert back to her old ways.
I don't think you're cold at all. Is your mother still underemployed or is she now retired? I looked at your intro post and am calculating that if you're 38, your mother is maybe in her mid to late 50s? Is she looking at you as her bridge to social security at 62? I really feel for you as you probably have decades of dealing with this ahead of you.

You could tell her your company has a new plan where all of your own retirement money and savings are now going and you can't touch it until you yourself retire. And the most I would do is send her a little $ instead of a gift for her birthday, Christmas, mother's day.
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Old 02-16-2012, 11:40 AM   #18
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I really think it depends on your mother's age . If she's in her 60's I'd suggest a job but if she's 80 I would look at her expenses and probably help her out with a set amount every month and ignore other requests . Maybe also drop off some groceries when you visit .
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Old 02-16-2012, 11:41 AM   #19
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One thing you might do if your local utilities have the option, and that is to send you a copy of the electric, gas, phone, whatever bills every month.

In this manner you at least can be aware if the bills are not being paid on a timely manner (the money is being used for something else) and you can be a bit proactive in this area (by asking why "x" bill has not been paid).

I do it for my (adult) disabled son. He takes care of paying his own bills for his apartment and does well in this area, but I get a copy just to keep an eye on things "just in case".

It's better to know ahead of time rather than have to intervene (if you wish) the day before the electric is turned off.

Good luck to you...
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Old 02-16-2012, 01:43 PM   #20
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I may indeed be cold, but I think parents have a responsibility to children, but not the reverse, unless the parents ARE responsible for their children. People choose to have children, or should. If they cannot take care of children, including educating them, they should not have them. They should not have more children than they can care for.
Children do not choose to have parents. I am a bit indignant because of a situation I know in which the parents did not do squat in helping child with higher ed--who did it all with working and scholarships--then parents retired early. In my opinion, child does not owe parents anything as their lack of foresight seems to be coming back to bite.
Perhaps a bit on the crabby side today...
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